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Gardeners of the Ocean: Surfers and scientists join efforts to restore kelp forests in Peniche

Surfers and scientists joined hands at Praia de São Pedro in the Portuguese town of Peniche to restore kelp forests. ReGeneration Surf, a coalition of expert, local partners across the fields of Ocean literacy education, scientific research, ecosystem restoration and community engagement (SeaForester, Mossy Earth, Oceans and Flow, ZeroWaste Lab) is pioneering innovative ways for surfers and coastal communities to engage in ocean conservation and restoration. The activities were implemented in collaboration with the World Surf League as part of the We Are One Ocean initiative.

Gardeners of the Ocean: Together with surfers as citizen scientists, ReGeneration Surf did the first ever deployment of SeaForester’s seeded stones.

Natalie Fox, the coordinator of the project, explains: "Today was deployment day, the result of a process that involved seeding small stones with kelp spores and growing them over the past few months in the laboratory facility at Cetemares / MARE-IPL. Now it's time to take the stones and deploy them at sea."

Usually not very popular with beachgoers, the truth is that algae are a crucial component for the ecosystem. João Franco, a scientist at MARE-IPL, explains that "they serve as a habitat, as food, contribute to the production of oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and filter the water from pollutants...among many other goods and services these underwater forests provide to us."

The surfers who joined the project were not frightened by the grey weather or the rough sea and took to the water for the maritime version of planting a tree.